About Us Contact Us Privacy Policy Terms of Use DMCA Opt-out of personalized ads
© Copyright 2023 Market Realist. Market Realist is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.

Swindlers are now Targeting Unsuspecting Motorists at Gas Stations as Part of Pump-Switching Scam

Scammers approach unsuspecting victims, offering assistance in pumping gas or returning the nozzle to complete the transaction.
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Pixabay
Cover Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Pixabay

With scammers looking to swindle unsuspecting victims everywhere, even the most mundane tasks like pumping gas can become an unexpected battleground against fraudulent schemes. The latest menace on the block is the pump-switching scam, and it's making waves across gas stations, catching unsuspecting victims off guard.

Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio
Woman refilling her car at the gas station | Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

The pump-switching scam is so pervasive that even the Philadelphia police has issued a public service alert, specifically targeting individuals who use credit cards for their fuel transactions. The modus operandi is as cunning as it is deceitful, since scammers approach unsuspecting victims, offering assistance in pumping gas or returning the nozzle to complete the transaction. Instead of concluding the transaction, the scammer covertly continues pumping gas into their own vehicle. In some instances, they hang the nozzle and leave it active, surreptitiously transferring the expense to the next customer, often demanding cash for the transaction.

For instance, if you want $50 worth of gas for your car, The scammer will offer to hang the nozzle for you, and then they may add another $50 worth of gas into their vehicle or the next customer’s, leaving you with a $100 credit card transaction. Reports indicate that these scam artists specifically target individuals who may seem good-natured or physically vulnerable. Some have even resorted to aggressive tactics, forcefully taking the nozzles from victims who declined their dubious assistance.

Pexels | Photo by Tara Winstead
Scam alert | Pexels | Photo by Tara Winstead

Given that this scam unfolds in person, staying alert is paramount. Here are some practical tips to safeguard yourself against the intricate web of pump switching:

1. Stay alert when pumping gas

While it's tempting to zone out or check our phones during routine activities such as filling up our gas tanks, the increasing prevalence of pump switching necessitates heightened awareness. Politely decline any kind of unsolicited assistance from strangers who don't work at the gas station and remain focused on your transaction instead of minding their own business.

2. Always collect your receipt

A seemingly mundane task, yet one that can serve as a bulwark against potential scams. Ensure you press "End Transaction" and collect your receipt every time you pump gas. This small yet critical action can prevent scammers from taking extra charges, saving you the hassle of dealing with authorities and your credit card company later.

3. Alert the staff or local police

If the situation takes an unexpected turn, and someone becomes confrontational, it's crucial not to engage. Instead, call for help immediately. Notify the gas station staff or contact the police, ensuring your safety without getting entangled in a physical confrontation.

In a world where scammers continuously evolve their tactics, staying vigilant at the gas station has become a necessity. In the battle against pump switching, awareness stands as your most robust defense.